The industry track will take place on Thursday 5th July 2018 at conference venue (Church House, Belfast).

Industry track is in partnership with

Stephen Giff

Senior UX Researcher, Google

Evolving the UX Research discipline. Remaining relevant in a rapidly changing world.


Stephen Giff is a native of London but has lived in Seattle since 2001 (with a brief spell…3 years... in Copenhagen). He received a Bachelors Degree in Psychology from Birkbeck, and a Masters in HF/HCI from UCL. Since that time, Stephen has worked on a variety of technology - from Web, eLearning, ERP, Developer Tools, to Advertising and Hardware. He is passionate about the UX Research discipline and thinking about how it needs to evolve to meet the ever-changing challenges of our industry. He loves seeing the world through the eyes of customers, and partnering with Design/Business/Engineering to turn the insights uncovered into meaningful solutions.  Stephen was previously a Principal UX Manager for Microsoft Advertising, and recently joined Google as a Senior UX Researcher where he is focused on Google Cloud Platform.

Philip Strain

User Experience Researcher, Spotify

Title: The role of user research in a world of big data


While completing a Ph.D. in Human-Computer Interaction at Queens University in Belfast, Philip Strain undertook a record three user research internships at Google at their HQ in Mountain View, California and New York, where he was the first employee to focus on accessibility for people with disabilities. This work led to a full-time role at Google, where Philip was the lead user researcher for accessibility, and later, AdSense. Following this, Philip moved to Apple, where he conducted heuristic evaluations against iOS, OS X and web products, developed accessibility guidelines and promoted accessibility in engineering teams across Apple. More recently, Philip has been invited to participate as an expert in discussions around the European Commission Accessibility directive for native mobile and web accessibility. Philip is currently a Senior User Researcher in the Product Insights team at Spotify.


Simon McLoughlin

mobile software engineer for IBM Ireland's Innovation Exchange

BOTter than the real thing: building a better survey with chatbots


Simon McLoughlin is the lead mobile software engineer for IBM Ireland's Innovation Exchange team based in Dublin. After completing his honours bachelor degree in computer science, Simon focused on native mobile development working for both small startups and large mobile telecommunications companies. After joining IBM, Simon has broadened his focus and now uses IBM's Watson and Cloud platform to build automated chatbots for social media networks, predictive analytic healthcare solutions, and large scale IoT solutions to track and monitor semi-autonomous cars. Simon recently worked on the LEANBH project in conjunction with the INFANT centre in cork, which was awarded an Innovation in Business excellence award by the Fingal Dublin Chamber of Commerce.

Mike Armstrong

Senior R&D Engineer, BBC Research and Development

Object Based Media: A toolkit for building responsive content.


Mike is a long-time BBC employee with experience of many areas of broadcasting and he moved into research from Local Radio 18 years ago where he had installed the BBC’s first ever computer-based radio station. His research has often been at the boundary between the technology and the quality of the audience’s experience. He has worked on topics as diverse as access services, particularly subtitle quality, video coding and capacity planning, the audibility of speech on television, and the impact of video frame rate. For many years he has been advocating an object-based approach to media production and is now part of a team developing ways of delivering responsive media experiences and exploring the benefits for accessibility.

Gareth Dunlop

CEO & Founder, Fathom

All statistics are not created equal - humanising data to improve design performance


Following 15 years of direct commercial experience helping businesses use the Internet more effectively, Gareth established the dedicated User-Experience agency Fathom in September 2011 to advise companies on how to get the most from the Internet by seeing the world from the perspective of their customers. Previously Gareth was the MD of iON, a leading digital strategy and marketing company, headquartered in Belfast and with major clients in 15 countries. Prior to that he was the MD of Tibus, one of the largest and most successful web development agencies in Ireland, from 2002 to 2009 when it was sold to UTV Media. Since 1996, he has gained massive commercial experience advising blue chip clients in Ireland, UK and Europe (SPAR, DHL, Post Office UK, BBC) on Internet strategy and best practice. A Board Member of Christian Aid Ireland, Board Member of IEDR, former Board Member of the Irish Internet Association, and Chairman of, Gareth writes & lectures extensively on Internet related matters. He occupies regular columns in and the Irish Independent in the Republic of Ireland, and Business Eye magazine in Northern Ireland. Gareth is a former judge of the Eircom Spider Awards, the DANI Awards and the IIA Net Visionary Awards.

Damien Dupre


Using physiological changes and facial expressions to understand individual's emotions "in the wild": an overview


Ph.D in Social and Experimental Psychology from the University Grenoble-Alpes, France, Damien’s researches are focus on understanding emotions 'in the wild'. With Anna Tcherkassof in Grenoble, he has contributed to develop the DynEmo database by recording and assessing dynamic and spontaneous facial expressions of emotions. While his thesis aimed to evaluate Emotional UX of innovative technologies and designs, he is now KTP associate of the Queen’s University for Sensum Ltd. – a Belfast based Company specialized in the Emotion AI ( By collaborating with some of the world’s biggests brands & agencies to deliver business value by innovating with emotions, biometrics, sensor technology, data analysis and artificial intelligence, Sensum is one of the leading provider of emotion insights. Sensum is delivering a string of world-firsts across scientific research, mobile & wearable tech, to immersive media experiences – all driven by Emotion AI. In Sensum, Damien is processing physiological measurements and automatic face recognition systems in order to infer emotions of people driving autonomous cars or practicing extreme sports.

Niall Haslam


Patient Data Made Real - from physical to digital and back again


axial3D is a 3D printing in Healthcare company in Belfast. It takes medical images and turns them into 3D printing objects. Our research focuses on the automated production of anatomical models taken from medical scan data. We provide this as a service globally. The intermediate process of turning medical imaging data into 3d visualisations is the focus of some new research we have been carrying out. At this talk I’ll discuss the role of human computer interaction and user experience on our journey so far as we seek to improve the process of making patient data real.

Ceara McCurdy

UX Designer II at Rapid7

Confidence through Design : How Rapid7 helps users defeat hackers


Ceara has worked with Rapid7 in Belfast since January 2016, and in UX for a total of 7 years. She studied Interactive Media Design, followed by a Masters in Service Design both at the University of Dundee. Passionate about providing a good user experience, especially in often tricky situations, a move into Rapid7 and the world of security made sense. As part of the Rapid7 design team Ceara helps tackle problems involving large quantities of data, security breach alerts and providing consistent experiences across product offerings. In previous rolls she has worked in the world of American healthcare and advised on accessibility.

Hannah Torney


Usability testing in the medical device industry


Hannah studied BSc (Hons) Biomedical Engineering at Ulster University, and began employment with HeartSine in 2012. Since then, Hannah has undertaken many formative and summative usability studies, which have contributed to many regulatory submissions, including 510(k) and PMA submissions to the US FDA and Japanese PMDA submissions. Hannah is currently completing a part-time PhD in Human-Computer Interaction at Ulster University.

Patricia O’Hagan

Core Systems

Why UX is important in prisons


Patricia is a rarity in the technology industry, a female CEO of a software development company. As the 50% owner of Core Systems (NI) Limited with her business partner and co-shareholder, Tommy Maguire, Patricia has extensive experience building successful technology solutions for the prison sector. This deep industry knowledge led to Patricia and Tommy’s idea to develop a secure Inmate Services Platform (Direct2inmate) for use in the Prison environment.  In August 2014 they successfully exited from their previous prison security business, Core (NI), in a cash sale to another shareholder and the management team. The key driver behind this move was to enable them to focus on the development and commercial exploitation of inmate technology through their company, Core Systems (NI) Limited.


Austin Tanney

Analytics Engines

Designing for Data: How to simplify complexity and make data interactive


Austin is Head of Life Science and Healthcare, Analytics Engines and is responsible for the development and commercialisation of Analytics Engines products and solutions for the life science and healthcare sector working with research organisations, healthcare organisations and the Pharma, Biotech, and Diagnostics industry. Austin received his PhD in Biomedical Science from the University of Ulster in 2001 and has spent the last 15 years working in the commercial sector in a range of companies from start-ups to multi-national corporations. Analytics Engines are a Data Analytics company based in Belfast.  We are passionate about data and helping our customers get value from their data. Our teams expertise spans engineering, data science, computer science, genetics and personalised medicine. We provide bespoke analytics solutions enabling you to get insight and value from your data and develop data applications enabling users to explore their data.

Eoin Connolly


UX and Cryptocurrency Wallets


Technologist. Architect in Deloitte EMEA Blockchain Lab. Nerd. Not in that order.